Let’s face it, for some of us, a large part of the day sees us sitting on our butts — especially those of us that work with computers. Smartphones, tablets, consoles… all these things are leading to a more sedentary life for people of all ages. In my case, for instance, I probably sit in front of a computer for 8-9 hours, a couple of hours of TV, and a couple of hours of gaming each day during the week. Needless to say, that kind of sedentary activity isn’t exactly kind to the waistline. Ergonomics is big business what with all the standing desk and desk riser options available. While these do get you standing and moving around a bit more, they don’t really provide exercise. Our FlexiSpot Deskcise Pro review takes a look at a desk bike that actually lets you work out while you work (or watch TV, or play games). Let’s see just how well this recent 2018 CES Innovation Awards Honoree performs!
The FlexiSpot Deskcise Pro Desk Bike has the following features and specifications:
- Part exercise bike, part standing desk. FlexiSpot Deskcise Pro™ combines an on-demand, height-adjustable desk and exercise bike into one sleek desk bike. The revolutionary design lets you go from sitting to cycling to standing with one space-saving solution.
- “Whisper quiet” pedaling at eight resistance settings will help all those who struggle to fit gym time in with work or studies and who can’t or don’t want to cycle to work.
- Whether 5’1” or 6’2”, everyone in the family can comfortably use the cycle desk. The user-friendly pneumatic adjustment lever moves the desk bike seat up or down with a gentle press–no pins or knobs to adjust.
- Our products have been thoroughly tested and specifically certified by TUV SUD
- Deskcise Pro resembles a small exercise bike, with a desk surface large enough to accommodate a laptop, notebooks and your mobile phone.
- Dimensions (w x h x l): 24 x 35 to 47 x 34″
- Weight: 75 pounds
What’s in the box
- FlexiSpot Deskcise Pro Desk Bike
- Bike Base
- M8 Bolt
- Hex Key
- 2x Pedal Covers
- 1-year frame warranty
- 90-day electronics warranty
- Installation guide
For the most part, the FlexiSpot Deskcise Pro looks like your typical exercise bike with one exception, which we’ll get to in a moment. The main body has a white unibody design with a slightly triangular cutout in the middle with the 90º angle just under the seat. The look gives a rounder bump around the pedals, effectively giving it a bike look. The pedals on either side have a similar unibody cover with the FlexiSpot wordmark printed on it.
The black bike pedals are inserted into this housing. Interestingly enough, the pedals come complete with reflectors — not that you’ll be riding up the street in this. But I digress. Also included in with the Deskcise Pro are a pair of flexible, soft grey pedal covers which are more conducive to use with bare feet or socks. These covers slip easily over the pedals and sit in place firmly.
Located at the bottom of the Deskcise Pro are the legs — each sitting on an office chair style wheel — which come folded under the bike when you take it out of the box. Once extended, the front legs are perpendicular to the main body while the back ones angle back about 30º or so. The leg design gives the bike a nice sturdy feeling when in use.
On the top of the bike, you’ll, of course, find the seat at the back, the resistance dial, toggle/reset button, LCD display, battery cover, and finally the desk post. The seat is attached to a rounded rectangular post. The seat itself is firm and is of the wider bike seat variety. While it’s reasonably comfortable for shorter stints, it can become uncomfortable after extended use of the bike, but we’ll get into that in a moment. Under the left side of the seat is a lever which is used to raise or lower the height of the seat.
As for the components on the bike frame, the resistance dial lets you adjust the resistance between -1 and +8. The LCD display can be set with the toggle button to scan through the various recorded data options, or to display only one option. The available data the Deskcise Pro tracks includes the timer, speed, distance, calories, odometer, and RPM. Unfortunately, our review unit was the U.S. version and as such the speed, distance, and odometer are all in miles and can’t be changed. When I inquired about it, FlexiSpot responded stating that there are two versions of the bike, one which uses miles and the other (sold in the U.K.) for kilometers. Pressing and holding the toggle button will reset the data stored on the bike with the exception of the odometer. It would also be nice if the LCD was backlit as it can be hard to see if you’re using the bike in dimmer lighting conditions. Just in front of the LCD display is the battery cover for the two AA batteries the bike requires. The battery cover is also covered with a grey rubber disk which allows this area to be used as a water bottle holder.
Which brings us to the front of the bike and the reason for the Deskcise Pro: the adjustable desk. The desk is attached to the bike with a similar rounded rectangular post as the seat. The usable desk surface is roughly 23″ x 17″ with a 2 ½ to 3″ grey wrist rest at the bottom. While the surface size works for most laptop sizes, if you have a 17″ laptop you’ll be hard pressed to be able to also include a mousepad and mouse with the limited space here. It’s not the end of the world, but it is something to keep in mind if you’re considering this desk. The desk is also flat and it would have been nice to be able to angle it up slightly for more comfortable typing.
On the underside of the desk are a pair of levers. The lever on the right side allows you to raise or lower the desk to a suitable height. The lever on the right side moves the desk away from or closer to your body. In fact, the desk can be moved towards the seat so far that you can use the Deskcise Pro like a traditional standing desk should you choose.
With the legs extended, the bike is roughly 24″ wide by 34″ in length. Depending on the height of the desk, the Deskcise Pro sits at between 35 and 47″ in height. As such, it’s not overly large and easily fits in the corner of a room. Additionally, the legs do fold back under the main body for easier, slimmer storage options. If you are storing it for a long time, the desk can be removed as well to make the bike even more compact.
The Deskcise Pro is solidly built and the design is one that doesn’t look out of place in most settings. In other words, it doesn’t look like it belongs exclusively in a gym and hence looks fine off to the corner in a bedroom or even your living room.
The Deskcise Pro comes pretty much assembled with two main parts: the frame and the desktop. To set up the bike for use, unfold the four legs until they click into place, and do the same for the pedals. Next, place the desktop on the bike base post, insert the bolt and tighten with the included hex key. The instructions did mention a pull ring and pull pin for adjusting the desktop to the suitable height but there was no such part on the Deskcise Pro. I’m assuming the diagram in this step was recycled from a previous version. In either case, the part isn’t attached to the bike and isn’t needed either.
To finish up assembly, insert the included AA batteries into the base of the cup holder, put the anti-skid pad in place, and then slip the pedal covers over the pedals so it’s more comfortable to use with socks or even bare feet.
That’s it! Assembly took less than 5 minutes (which included pulling it out of the box) and once complete you’re good to go after making the necessary height adjustments.
Ease of Use
To use the Deskcise Pro, sit on the seat then adjust the height by pulling the lever under the seat on the left-hand side so it feels comfortable while pedaling. When lowering the seat, it’s pretty stiff so you may need to sit on it while lowering the height. After your seat height is adjusted, do the same with the desktop by pulling the lever on the right-hand side and adjusting the height. To move the tray forward or back, use the lever under the left-hand side of the tray.
You can either press the black button underneath the LCD display or just start pedalling to turn it on. Once on, you can press the button to cycle between SCAN (which rotates automatically through each of the other display options), timer, speed, distance, calories, odometer, or RPM (rotations per minute). If the bike is too easy to pedal, you can turn up the resistance by turning the resistance dial clockwise. Likewise, if it’s too hard to pedal, you can turn the resistance dial counter-clockwise to reduce resistance.
The LCD automatically turns off after you haven’t pedalled for more than 4 minutes.
To reset the current data being displayed, simply hold down the black button. This resets everything except for the odometer which keeps track of the total distance the bike has been used for by anyone who uses it.
If you need to store it away for awhile, make sure to remove the batteries then remove the desktop by unbolting it from the frame then fold the pedals up. Tilting the bike over will allow access to the spring pins which, once depressed, will allow you to fold the legs back under the bike after which it will easily fit out of the way in a corner or closet.
When sitting on the bike, it sinks down slightly, locking the wheels in place. This has the potential to be harsh on certain flooring surfaces so we placed our review unit on some exercise pads. At any rate, the wheels make it easy to move the bike around when not sitting on it but prevent it from rolling around when you’re actively pedalling on it.
As far as performance goes, the Deskcise Pro doesn’t feel much different than using a traditional exercise bike. The included resistance levels are enough to suit even the most active users and I found that keeping it on resistance setting of 6 was more than acceptable. My kids, on the other hand, chose resistance levels of 4 and 5. Depending on how long you decide to cycle in one sitting, the seat is probably the weak spot as I found it slightly uncomfortable. Not overly, mind you, but enough to notice it.
Of course, performance will also vary by how hard you cycle as well as the resistance setting on the Deskcise Pro. While using it for half-an-hour on resistance setting 6 and cycling at a leisurely pace, I averaged around 4.8 miles (7.4 km) and burned 116 calories according to the display. I wasn’t going hardcore, but I could definitely feel the workout and towards the 25-minute mark could feel a bit of sweat building on my back. In addition, the coverings for the pedals were comfortable with shoes, socks, and bare feet.
Like anything else, you’re not going to want to sit on this for eight hours while you work all day. Then again, you’re not going to hit the gym and cycle for eight hours straight either. I found that the Deskcise Pro worked best for me in 30 to 60-minute intervals with equal or longer breaks in between.
If you’re using this as your primary workspace, as mentioned in the Design section, the desk tray does pull back all the way towards the seat so that you can comfortably stand behind the bike and continue to work. On that note, while pedaling, there is an ever so slight wobble given the motions that your body is generating. Once you got used to it, the subtle movement didn’t really affect typing or mouse use but it does take a bit of getting used to in the beginning as opposed to working on a 100% solid and stable surface. I also found that after a few weeks, the desk tray was a bit wobbly on its own and required a quick re-tightening. From my observations, I believe this is due to the way you tend to get on the bike, using the desk as a bit of leverage and balance while you climb on board.
While this isn’t really performance rated, I was honestly surprised how much the Deskcise Pro was used by my family. While my wife and I use it on and off, the kids are on it for at least an hour a day while watching TV, playing on their tablets, or even just sitting and listening to music.
The Deskcise Pro uses two AA batteries. After a couple months of use, the batteries are still going strong. Being AA batteries, they’re easily obtainable and replaceable and you can always use rechargeable batteries as well. As mentioned above, the LCD automatically turns off after you haven’t pedaled for more than 4 minutes to conserve battery life.
With an MSRP of $499.99 USD, the Deskcise Pro may seem a bit pricey at first glance. A standard exercise bike can be had for as low as $150 and the higher the quality, of course, the higher the price. Given the frame and relatively compact size of the Deskcise Pro, as well as the inclusion of the desktop and ability to use it as a bike or while standing, there’s definitely some value to be had here. As mentioned before, just observing the number of times people in my household used the bike on a daily basis for a little extra exercise while performing other normally sedentary tasks was added value enough.
For a lot of people, finding the time to get active may be tough given the onslaught of computers, consoles, quality TV programming, and other devices. The Deskcise Pro offers a suitable outlet to get some extra exercise in while working on your laptop, watching TV, or playing video games. After using it for a couple months and seeing how much it got used on a daily basis, it’s not hard to see why it was an 2018 CES Innovation Awards Honoree and easily earns a Top Pick of 2018 Award here at Techaeris.